Thursday, April 19, 2012

"White Disease"

The disease that the Rani of Cooch Naheen contracts turns her skin from dark to light over a period of time. Eventually, when she dies, she is completely white. Though this probably is meant to mirror some actual disease, I think that it is mostly a metaphor for cultural assimilation and blending in India during this time. Though it is a good thing to be receptive to other cultures, it's important not to forget your roots though. The Rani even says that she is split between two cultures and her skin is a testimony to that.

9 comments:

Ravin S said...

A LOT of Indians who live in this area have this disease. I believe it's some type of Vitiligo, which is specifically a condition where brown skin turns to white in certain patches but can turn the entire body white. It's really strange but it feels just like regular skin. I am uncertain if it's the same disease, but I know that quite a bit of Indian people have Vitiligo.

alyb said...

I agree that this skin disease is a metaphor for the European influence on India. I think the fact that Rushidie uses a disease to show the European influence is reflective of the nature of their infulence. From what I have read it seems like the European and Indian relationship was parasitic and a disease represents this perfectly.

christine said...

I I agree that this definitely a metaphor for European influence. I thought it tied back to Okonkwi in things fall apart also. When ikemefuma was killed, Okonkwo didy eat and grew paler which I think also serves as a metaphor for European influence on other cultures.

christine said...

I I agree that this definitely a metaphor for European influence. I thought it tied back to Okonkwi in things fall apart also. When ikemefuma was killed, Okonkwo didy eat and grew paler which I think also serves as a metaphor for European influence on other cultures.

ParkerC said...

Referring to what Ravin is saying, there is some weird thing that people in my immediate family have that makes white spots on their skin. Luckily I don't have it(yet), but it reall happens. The spots are not so big though and I doubt they'd cover the entire body. I wonder if it's the same thing

ParkerC said...

well after googling it, that's way more extreme than what some people in my family have, but I forgot what it is called

sara pendleton said...

I agree with yall that the disease has to do with European influence and maybe even capitalism as well. It seems like more affluent families are friendlier with the Europeans and that when the Europeans left, these affluent people filled the place they left like on the villas where Saleem grows up. I guess westernization of those in power, especially capitalists, is a symbolic turning "white" and shows how they're loosing their heritage/place in traditional Indian culture.

mere said...

To add to my previous post, I find it interesting that people keep contracting this disease. For example, Ahmed turns very pale mid-way through the book...

mere said...

To add to my previous post, I find it interesting that people keep contracting this disease. For example, Ahmed turns very pale mid-way through the book...